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Rowan of Rin (Rowan of Rin #1) Paperback – February 17, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Rowan of Rin Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-The people of Rin are strong and brave, except for young Rowan. He spends his time caring for the bukshah, the gentle beasts that the villagers depend on for their survival. When their stream suddenly stops flowing and the bukshah are in danger of dying, six of the strongest, bravest villagers decide to climb the Mountain, hoping to avoid the Dragon that lives there, to find out what has happened. However, Sheba the Wise Woman is the only one who knows the way, and she has decided that Rowan must accompany the party, so she gives them a magic map that can only be read if he is holding it. Rowan starts off as fragile and a little whiny, but improves steadily, especially as he begins to realize that he plays an important role in the expedition. He is able to succeed through his own efforts, not through magic. The adults are one-dimensional at first, but as Rowan learns more about them, so do readers, and two of them prove to have unexpected depth. Traditional fantasy elements and setting are presented in a fast-moving and enjoyable tale that should be an easy sell to fantasy lovers.

Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-6. Rodda's new fantasy-adventure series (three other titles are to follow within a year) introduces the people of Rin, who live in the shadow of the Mountain ruled by a fierce but unseen dragon. When the community's water source suddenly dries up, and the dragon ceases his daily roars, some of the bravest villagers prepare to travel up the Mountain to investigate the problem. Young Rowan, a herder who fears he will never be as brave as his late father, must accompany the group because only he can make the magical map reveal its necessary clues. One by one, each strong adventurer confronts his own greatest fears and turns back, leaving only Rowan to deal with the fire-breathing dragon on the summit. Readers would have been satisfied had they simply been given an exciting adventure story. But this talented Australian writer has also given them a fully conceived fantasy world complete with its own flora and fauna, a well-developed back story, and fascinating characters. This tightly plotted mystery sprinkled with clever rhyming clues is somewhat reminiscent of Tom McGowen's the Magician's Apprentice series (1987), and it should be popular with young readers everywhere. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 660 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; Reissue edition (February 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060560711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060560713
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Mom on December 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I whole-heartedly agree with the parent from NY who's 8-year old son is a voracious reader.....because I have one too! It is so difficult to find quality books for young boys -- but this series is definitely one that you will want to buy. My son first read this series not long after he turned 9. He's now almost 11 and has reread them so many times that the covers are about to fall off. They are suspenseful without being scary....a great first fantasy series for kids. My only thought with regard to the child reviewers who didn't like them.... maybe they were too old for these books.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my 11 year old son. When he had to do a book report on it and asked me to help him, I decided I'd better read it myself to know what happens in the book. I almost couldn't put it down. I stayed up until 2:00 am to finish it. I loved the riddles and how they had to figure them out to continue their quest. I also loved how the tormented child became the HERO of the Village. When all the big tough villagers became to scared or weak to go on, Young Rowan the Keeper of the Bukshah, (because he was too scared to do and thing elso, saved Rin.
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Format: Paperback
Following up on the sweet "Rowan of Rin," a fantasy for younger readers, Emily Rodda produces a sequel that is actually better than the first book. With an intricate plot, unlikely hero and intriguing mystery, this will captivate kids not ready for "Hobbit" or "Harry Potter."
In the aftermath of "Rowan of Rin," the boy Rowan is a hero to his village. Now growing a crop of succulent Mountain berries, the villagers have settled back into their normal routine -- until the Travellers come. The nomadic tribe has a history of friction-filled cooperation with the people of Rin, and their mockery of Rowan's triumph shows that nothing has changed. Several of the villagers also suspect that the Travellers are plotting to steal the Mountain berries.
Then the Travellers vanish, and villagers begin lapsing, one by one, into comas. The old wise woman Sheba utters another prophecy, and rails insanely out of fear of something that is coming -- an old "enemy." Only Rowan and the half-Traveller Allun are able to escape, and they rejoin the Travellers, who claim to have no knowledge of what is happening to Rin. They are planning to go back to the Pit of Unrin, to find a legendary golden city that was mysteriously destroyed. But when Rowan agrees to come, he will find something lurking that is too terrifying to imagine.
This book can probably stand on its own; references are made to the previous book, but no plot elements lean too heavily. The dialogue is never pretentious, a little stilted in places, but overall good. The descriptions -- especially chilling ones -- are even better, in such scenes as the one with the carnivorous trees with flexible roots, and Sheba's ranting. The only problem is that the cause of the villagers' affliction is pretty obvious from the beginning.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sometimes the editorial reviews for these books, especially for the books for younger readers, are pretty idiosyncratic if not downright misleading. But the two reviews for this book are spot on, and you will get exactly what they describe. Which is great.

Rowan pulls himself together in a convincing fashion. Adults are strong and/or weak in convincing and realistic ways. Magic is minimal and serves the larger story. The adventure is sure and well paced.

The language and the concepts are appropriate for the age group. Length is good. The plotting is challenging but not too much for a young reader. The characters and their world are engaging.

From the point of view of interest, reward, excitement, challenge and reading satisfaction I can't come up with a better series recommendation than this one. Just a very good, solid choice.
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Format: Paperback
After his unlikey heroism in Rowan of Rin, Rowan is still very much the weak boy he once was. However he has more tests in front of him. When the nomadic tribe, the Travelers, come to their village many of the townspeople are not amused. Just after their arrival a second mysterious threat to his isolated village prompts the humble herd boy introduced in Rowan to gather up all his courage. When the sleeping sickness takes over his village an all that is left standing is Rown and half-traverler-Allun they must work together to find the hidden enemy. At first they suspect the Travelers, but the travelers seem just as puzzled as they are. While attempting to find the travelers he finds himself in the company of Zeel, a hated Zebak invader raised as a Traveler, attempting to enter the fabled Valley of Gold by passing through its only entrance, the ill-reputed Pit of Unrin. He must pass many challenges before he can save his people. Will his courage stand up to the evil forces again?
Emily Rodda does it again by making Rowan one of the most unlikely heros of our times!
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Format: Library Binding
Rowan may have survived the dangerous journey up the Mountain and become a hero to the people of Rin, but he's still timid and afraid. Yet his courage is about to be tested again. Soon after the Travelers, a wandering tribe, arrive in Rin, the villagers all fall prey to a mysterious sleeping sickness. Only Rowan and one other villager escape. At first they suspect the Travelers, but the tribe is just as puzzled as they are. They do agree to help, and along with a Traveler girl, Rowan sets out to find the cause of the sickness by solving a difficult riddle. Their journey takes them to a valley full of deadly perils. Rowan may be scared, but to save his family and his village, he will have to face his fears. Readers who enjoyed Rowan of Rin, the first book about Rowan, will love this sequel and look forward to the next two books in the series.
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